I have a little bit of a thing for summer corn. Once it shows up for the season, I am that person who buys far more than I’d ever need for our two-person household. And yet, I can take it or leave it when it comes to corn on the cob. But served any other way? You can count me in.
And that is especially the case with this creamy corn pasta. I’d happily enjoy it every week of the season. With sautéed zucchini, spicy fresh basil, fusilli pasta and a creamy sauce made of fresh corn kernels, it’s like summer in a bowl.
Now, let’s talk specifically about the sauce, which is made of plenty of fresh corn and just a smidge of garlic, salt and pepper. I’ve become completely obsessed with this “sauce” over the years, using it in everything from enchiladas to pizza. I cannot get enough — it makes things so nice and creamy, and is packed with that wonderful flavor of summer corn! For this dish, the sauce also includes a small amount of milk (use any kind you’d like), which helps to thin it out to coat the pasta a bit better.
You’ll likely need about three to four medium ears of corn for the entire recipe, but this may vary slightly just depending on their exact size.
And one final thing! Don’t skip the lemon zest! It really brightens up the pasta and ties the whole dish together.
For the sauce:
- 2 cups fresh corn kernels
- 1 clove garlic roughly chopped
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pinch of pepper
- ⅓ cup milk
For the pasta:
- 8 ounces fusilli pasta
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium red onion chopped
- 1 medium zucchini chopped
- ¾ cup fresh corn kernels
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh basil for serving
For the sauce:
- Add the corn kernels, garlic, salt, pepper and milk to the bowl of a food processor. Process until well blended, about 20 to 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed. Set aside.
For the pasta:
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, according to the package directions. Drain into a colander, reserving the pasta water.
- While the pasta cooks, add the olive oil to a large skillet set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add in the onion and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, until it starts to soften. Add in the zucchini and corn kernels and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Remove from the heat. Add in the corn sauce, the drained pasta and the lemon zest and mix until well combined. Add in some of the reserved pasta water to thin out and loosen the sauce as desired, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with fresh basil and serve.
Hi Ashley! This looks so yummy - do you think the cream sauce would work with frozen corn kernels?
Ashley Jennings says
Hey Paula! I think if you thawed the kernels out first, it might. I don't know that it will quite taste as great as with fresh in-season corn but you could definitely give it a try!
I just made this with frozen corn and it definitely works but I imagine it would be much nicer with fresh corn! Delicious recipe and will definitely make again!
Katie Trant says
Fresh, in-season corn is great when you can get it, but canned totally works in a pinch. Thanks, Sarah!
I made this recipe tonight. Used fresh corn and it was delicious ?!!